Living, Breathing Event Venues.

How a local garden centre Chili Festival can teach you about adaptable spaces for unique events projects.

Reds

For those who were not at the Notting Hill carnival for August Bank Holiday, Frosts Garden Centre in Bedfordshire organized a family event jammed full of local producers, and Mexican themed jovialities. It was a long weekend of food, music, face paints, competitions, and chili themed activities for all the family. The main focus of the event was the large hall of chili food stalls  with an area for the chili eating competitions, salsa dancing and the bar.

This year the event organisers at Frosts in Woburn Sands have expanded the venue capacity, branching out into a big marquee in the car park. Previous years have seen festival goers squeezed into the shop floor that usually houses outdoor furnishings and plants. This had seemed too small to accommodate growing crowds and must have been impractical for employees as the large garden ornaments were moved to accommodate the festival space before and after each event. This adaptation shows the flexibility of a retail space as an event venue and Frosts try to use the space they have to maximize retail benefit as well as attendee experience. Those who park in the overflow car parks, or even the park & ride, were ushered towards the venue space through the compound of the garden centre which allows them to be tempted to browse the shop for maximum customer engagement. I think this use of a more rural based event venue, in comparison to the NEC in Birmingham or London Excel, shows the adaptability of event space that can always be used creatively to create unique and successful events.

woburn sands
This photo belongs to Frosts Garden Centres (facebook)

Hopefully Frosts will be able to learn from the use of this space for their future events. It is a complex event project that must battle to balance the everyday retail system of the business with the extraordinary weekend activities. This kind of event is a different beast to an exhibition space rented out for conferences or shows. This is a living venue that must accommodate high levels of retailing, staff organisation and logistics, and customer value. This was made even harder by the construction work that is currently underway in the home and gift shop at this branch. They are clearly seeking to expand to the very edges of the Woburn Sands estate.

There are clearly still polishing issues with larger events held at Frosts but each event I attend exceeds the last in terms of size and concept. At the moment I think the brand can work to improve the execution of their themed events, such as integrating the decoration and style of a Mexican chili festival with the venue space. I felt the atmosphere of this event was not so very compatible with the spicy, carnivalesque theme intended. It was more farmer’s market than fiesta!

Keep an eye out for family days, Christmas events and more interesting ideas in the pipeline at Frosts Garden Center. This is a great place to look at for inspiration for adaptable venue spaces. www.frostsgardencentres.co.uk 

 

If you are an event prof and you have found some unusual yet promising event venues, we would love to hear about it! Tweets us about event venues and local events on our Twitter: www.twitter.com/yada_events

 

Get the yada Events app on the App Store or Google Play and follow us

online:

Click on yada.events for our website or go to Twitter yada

Find us on Facebook and Instagram or Pinterest

www.linkedin.com/company/yada-the-events-app

 

READ MORE POSTS FROM OUR BLOG!

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s